Do you leave subsurf modifier unapplied for animation?

I was wondering if, when you create a subsurfed character for animation, is it generally better to apply the SubSurf modifier prior to rigging, animating, etc., or to just leave the modifier unapplied for all eternity? Thanks.

I leave it unapplied, that way you still have access to Levels for both display and render. I suppose if you’re exporting it may be necessary to apply, but then I’d apply it in a copy of the file, not the original. Same goes for MultiRes etc.


Thankfully every rig that I’ve used has never had the subsurf applied to it, as on my relatively low end machine (1.2gig / 512meg / Geforce 6200) XP box it makes a huge difference in performance when interactively animating / posing a character and for animation playback. I usually have it turned off for interactive display unless I’m doing facial animation in which case I’ll set it as low as possible.